I do not profess to be the best house cleaner you ever met on the internet. I mostly run my household by the saying “Clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy”…cover of “Better Homes and Gardens” meets “Cheaper by the Dozen”. That is what I aspire to.
(Did I just give the impression that I’m a slob? Because I’m totally not a slob…I just have 7 people living in one house and like every mother knows, there is a revolving “to do” list that just carries over from day to day to day to day. At my house, things like the baseboards and tile grout and the oven are always out-ranked by toilets and grocery shopping and vacuuming.)
But dishes. And laundry.
As far as the dishes go…I’ve always hated doing dishes. My family didn’t get a dishwasher until I was a sophomore in high school, so I spent 4.7 years of my childhood washing dishes by hand. Those are years I can never get back, years I could have spent playing paper dolls or learning to do a back-flip on the trampoline or lip syncing to Whitney Houston. A robbed childhood leads to a resentful adulthood, and that is why I don’t like doing dishes.
Never mind that now that I have a dishwasher the whole task could be completed in under 10 minutes. That is irrelevant. It’s the principle, ya know? I always put it off as long as possible, then I break down and do it and tell myself “Self, that wasn’t bad at all. Why in the bleep did you wait so long?” And then I answer myself and say “Self, you are right. and there’s no need for vulgar language. It’s not bad at all. From now on, I will do the dishes as I go, all day long. Easy peasy.”
I’m a liar. I don’t do it as I go all day long, and then I repeat the above paragraph. Every.Single.Night. Dishes are the Eagleton to my Pawnee, the Dwight to my Jim. I feel about dishes the way the rest of my family feels about putting a roll of toilet paper on the holder.
And the laundry. Sheesh. I actually enjoy washing clothes. The smell (not taste, mind you) of Tide and fabric softener, the warm clothes fresh out of the dryer. I could wash the clothes ’til the cows come home. At any given time, you can find a mountain of clean clothing piled nigh to the ceiling in my bedroom. Washing clothes is not my problem.
It’s the folding. And the putting away. Folding and putting away clean laundry could best be described as climbing Mt. Everest with paper cuts on every finger and getting a root canal at the summit. If I were Julie Andrews and I were singing about my favorite things, I would never, ever mention Mt. Everest or paper cuts or a root canal. Or folding laundry. I once went so long without matching and putting away socks that my son was angry-confused every morning for weeks after I finally did the deed. “Where is the sock basket, mom?!” “Your socks are in the drawer in your room, Joseph!” “What?! Why?! What are they doing there?!”
I realize it’s unfortunate that my least favorite household tasks are also considered daily maintenance and, therefore, not optional. I, too, have cried many a tear over this reality. Have no fear, I have compensated in other areas, so as to balance out the June Cleaver within. All of my children are bathed every night. And I NEVER EVER EVER run out of Nesquik.
**Yes, my children are all old enough to pull their weight when it comes to dishes and folding laundry. I am afraid my bad attitude has rubbed off on them, though, as evidenced by the amount of weeping and gnashing of teeth when said chores are mentioned. We are a work in progress! Our support group meets weekly on Monday nights. Free refills on chocolate milk.